PROJECT

Helping wheelchair users discover their best fit wheelchair

Designing a personalised website experience that bridges the gap between wheelchair users, their therapists and the businesses that support them.

View the prototype >>
CLIENT

Gecko Traxx

Year

Aug–Sep 2020

(6-Week Sprint)

Deliverables

Solution (Website)

Solution (App)

Research Artefacts

Concept & Mockup

ROLE

UX Design Lead

UX/UI Design

UX Research & Synthesis

Workshop Facilitator

User Flow

Information Architecture

UX Copywriting

Wireframes

Low & Hi-Fi Prototypes

Usability Testing

Tools

Adobe XD

Figma

Photoshop

Miro

Zoom

CASE STUDY

An exploration into the wheelchair measurement process


Gecko Traxx, a manufacturer of portable manual wheelchair accessories​, wanted to better understand the experiences of people who have a custom wheelchair built. The goal was to design a digital desktop solution that would improve the wheelchair measurement process (a.k.a. scripting) for wheelchair users.

I was a part of the five-person UX team tasked with researching, designing and testing a solution to the brief. To measure the success of the project, the client detailed three key success outcomes detailed below.

Understanding the problem

At the outset of the project, the design team was provided with detailed information regarding the scripting and wheelchair development process. This assisted us in drafting the first version of our problem statement.

Assumed user pain points and potential areas for improvement —

⏰   Measurement process is lengthy and can be intrusive and uncomfortable.

📏   A custom wheelchair can require up to 200 measurements, much of which involves an experienced eye.

🥴   Measurement errors can cause discomfort and health problems for wheelchair users.

♿   Wheelchair users have little visibility over the manufacturing process (can take over 12 months) and have to manually contact via email or phone for updates.

🔄   No instant feedback on the look and and feel of a chair, and users will sometimes have to travel great distances to a studio to view features, parts and fabrics.

🛠️   The process is manually driven.

Problem statement

— Pre-research

What exists now?

With limited information on the wheelchair industry and wheelchair users, we began the discovery phase of project with these objectives in mind:

>> Gain a full picture of the end-to-end process of acquiring a wheelchair with the involvement of all user groups and key stakeholders (wheelchair users, scripters/healthcare professionals and business owners).

>> Discover and understand wheelchair users goals and pain points along their journey.

User research methods


💻

Preliminary online research
Blogs and articles written by wheelchair users about their experiences obtaining a custom wheelchair.

☑️

Online survey (Google forms)  — 40 participants
To understand online behaviours and preferences with a focus on made-to-order.

The Coronavirus pandemic drastically changed the way people shop. Lockdowns, closures and concerns over protecting those at high risk has meant restricted access to in-store viewing and in-person measurements. To create a digital solution that addressed these constraints, we gathered quantitative data to explore the behaviours and preferences of online shoppers (with particular focus on made-to-order products), this information would serve to inform our design decisions further on in the process.

👩🏽👨🏿👩🏻

User interviews — 3 participants
A wheelchair user, wheelchair business owner and healthcare therapist.

To collect qualitative information that would shed more light on the custom wheelchair process, users goals and frustrations, the team conducted interviews with wheelchair users, wheelchair business owners and healthcare therapists. These interviews provided us with valuable information on the experiences and emotions of each user group.

🏃🏽‍♂️

Competitive analysis
Conducted a SWOT analysis of direct competitors (Kuschall, Ti-Lite, Mogo, Quickie and RGK).

⛓️

Parallel analysis
An analysis of brands that have an online AR/VR experience. The team analysed Nike Fit (footwear), Warby Parker (glasswear), James Allen (jewellery) and Smile Direct Club (teledentistry).



Synthesis

After collecting responses from the survey and user interviews, we moved onto developing affinity maps of key themes and findings to synthesize the problem.

Click to view Research Affinity Maps & Competitive Analysis

Understanding the end-to-end process

We mapped the entire end-to-end custom wheelchair build process and workflow to understand our user groups' experiences better and identify potential areas for improvement. This workflow would also help us accurately map out the customer journey further on in the design process.

Click to view the End-to-end Process of Scripting & Building a Custom Wheelchair

Important findings

😕   The process is daunting, particularly for a new wheelchair user.

🏖️   A great healthcare therapist will ask lifestyle questions, not just take measurements.

  Good therapists are a large part of reducing measurement errors and fighting for sufficient funding.

📅   There is little visibility on the timeline, approvals and progress, resulting in calls and emails for updates.

⌛   Business owners and healthcare therapists are busy and very time poor.

♿   Trialing chairs, accessories and components is an essential step in the process.

Empathising with users

Through our research, we were able to empathise with our users and develop three personas:

>> The new unsure user.

>> The confident repeat user.

>> The healthcare therapist.

Click to view detailed Personas

To identify the points along the journey where, through better design, we could improve the user's experience, we developed three customer journey maps, one for each persona (example displayed below).

Dave's Journey Map


Reframing the problem

👉  Based on research, the team established that the original problem hypothesised was not the problem users were experiencing.

Wheelchair users were not bothered by the close and somewhat intimate nature of being measured for a custom wheelchair, as the relationship between the wheelchair user and scripter was often close, and built on trust and honesty.

>> Instead, users felt there was a lack of direction and information, particularly for new custom wheelchair users.

>> Additionally, users were frustrated by how few updates they received on the status of funding approval and manufacturing (the custom build process can take upwards of 12 months).

The team used our findings and insights to form two how might we questions that would become the starting point for our ideation sessions.

Problem statement

— Post research

How might we?


Designing the solution


Creative ideation

As the client provided few constraints, the team was able to go wide during our brainwriting and crazy eights workshops, ideating over 40 possible solutions.

We selected six of the most creative and innovative ideas to present via low fidelity designs (see below), and, after a collaborative feedback session with the client, the team moved forward with four solutions.

Solutions post collaborative feedback session —

📝   Track My Build
An account that tracks and updates users on the status of the process and wheelchair build.

🤲   Guided Experience
Users input health and lifestyle information to receive tailored wheelchair suggestions.


💻   Virtual Showroom
A virtual showroom showcasing each wheelchair make, model and available modifications.

🤝   Collaborative Portal
An online portal that bridges that gap between wheelchair users, healthcare therapists and the businesses building the custom wheelchairs.

Below are some examples of the low fidelity designs presented to the client.

Information Architecture

To establish hierarchy, I developed the preliminary information architecture for the design. Sections highlighted in red were hi-fied for the final design solution.

Click to view Information Architecture

Visual style

When developing the components, style guide and design language, the team took into consideration the client's feedback regarding its brand. We developed 'Traverse', a brand that speaks directly to the client, is warm, inviting and inspires exploration.

Mulish was chosen as the Traverse font for its readability in various sizes, and we used a 12 grid system to create a responsive and fluid website design that is applicable for both desktop and mobile devices.

Brand visuals

For brand photography, I curated a selection of images and that were approachable, displayed a range of activities and, that were representative of the Aussie lifestyle. Each image accurately represented the Traverse brand ethos — aspirational, and relatable.

Accessibility considerations

Accessibility considerations played a vital role in our design style guide as the team wanted to ensure the Traverse website was inclusive to users of different ability levels. To meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA conformance, the website had to be usable and understandable for the majority of people with or without disabilities, these included being:

✔️   Adaptable
  • For example displaying icons and text examples within input boxes.
✔️   Distinguishable
  • By ensuring we meet the AA colour contrast ratio; and
  • AA text spacing and line height.
✔️   Understandable
  • Ensuring that all content appears and operates in a predictable way; and
  • providing back buttons and clear information on choices available.
✔️   Navigable
  • Providing multiple ways to access content through search bars and menus.

Usability testing

Using Adobe XD, the team created a high fidelity prototype and began moderated user testing to assess the usability of the design solution.

Each team member developed tasks and questions for users to complete/answer while observing their actions. Where users seemed to have difficulty or confusion, team members documented their observations. These findings were then assessed to identify the core problem and then prioritised so that critical usability issues were addressed first.

Below are some of our findings.

Traverse Home Page Hero Banner

Traverse Guided Experience

Traverse Wheelchair Matches

Traverse Track My Process

The design solution

View the final high fidelity prototype provided to the client, or watch the prototype video below.

Next steps

The final design solution was well received by wheelchair users, scripters and our client (a.k.a. the business owner); however, there are further improvements that should be made. The 3D Customiser feature could have tiered options as they would give more information and assistance to the user while making their selections.

A landing page before entering the 3D Customiser would be beneficial to users and allow for a smoother flow. The suggested landing page would explain how the customisation process works, what a user should expect and include other important information to provide guidance before customising a wheelchair.

To further enhance users experience, users should have the ability to apply customisation selections to different wheelchairs within the 3D Customiser. This feature would likely be at the start of the 3D Customiser flow, where users could select a wheelchair before choosing other options (currently, users select a wheelchair before entering the 3D Customiser). This feature would mean users can see their customisations on different wheelchairs without the need to go through the whole flow again.

Feeback from Gecko Traxx and wheelchair users

Retrospective

🧗  Challenges

Finding users to interview for such a niche product was challenging. We had to think outside of the box to explore the problem space without initially having users to interview.

✅  What went well

The team worked exceptionally well together. Excellent communication throughout the entire project was vital. At the beginning of the project, each team member shared their strengths, weaknesses and areas they wanted to develop; we then used this information to assign tasks effectively.

🤔  What I learnt

The problem space is fluid. What may seem obvious as the problem is a mere assumption until it has been validated (or invalidated) through robust user research.

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